A Small Village in Turkey Has Developed Their Own Language, but Instead of Talking… They Whistle
A Small Village in Turkey Has Developed Their Own Language, but Instead of Talking… They Whistle
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A Small Village in Turkey Has Developed Their Own Language, but Instead of Talking… They Whistle

In Kuşköy, Turkey a language has been used for hundreds of years that enables the speakers to have complex conversations over vast distances. But instead of using words... they whistle.

The language, which is now being safeguarded by UNESCO (the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) is spoken only by approximately 10,000 people in the world, mostly across villages in the mountainous regions of northern Turkey.

The 'bird language' as it's become known transforms the Turkish language into various recognizable pitch frequencies and melodic lines than can be easily understood and heard from miles away by those that speak it. To others, it may just sound like birds chirping.

Unfortunately, since the introduction of cellphones the language has seen a rapid decline in its users, but hopefully with the help of UNESCO this piece of cultural heritage can continue to live on.

This is a practice that also fascinates linguistic experts and researchers. After a study was conducted in the village of Kuşköy, they found that the processing of the bird language actually takes place in both hemispheres of the brain.

It was traditionally thought that language was processed primarily on the left side, and that relationship was rather fixed. However, with the bird language, tones and melodies are an important part of the language which incorporates the right hemisphere, the part of our brain that typically processes melody and rhythm.

Since 1997 Kuşköy has hosted an annual Bird Language, Culture and Art Festival where various people from villages all over come to compete, practice and celebrate their heritage. They are hoping to have accommodations for tourists so that more can learn about this unique language.

By Eric Allen

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